The ODI series kicks off tonight and personally, there has probably been enough water under the bridge for me to start caring again.
The one off T20 was a perfect taster to the action that we could possibly see in the coming five matches. England has done a 180 degree turn from their pathetic efforts during the World Cup and look like they are ready to throw down against the current world champions.
Australia have named a squad aimed at gaining some experience in English conditions for the World Cup in 2019, and as such, have risked getting our pants pulled down. Am I against the move? No. Would I feel more comfortable about it if we won the Ashes? Definitely. I’m sure we all have too many English mates crowing after the Ashes, and the last thing we need is more salt in the wounds. In saying that, there is certainly no lack of faith in the young guys coming through, we have plenty of One Day talent in the ranks that should still do the job.
There seems to be a fair bit being made about Australia’s pace attack (again) all being able to get the ball through at a lively 150km/h on their day. I’m not that concerned about their pace. I mean, it’s great and all, but if they can’t control it as a group, there could trouble. You can afford to have one bowler have an off day, but two at that pace can mean runs.
One thing that should be in Australia’s favour is the pitch preparation. The English public will want to see runs, lots and lots of runs, which should mean a lack of green tops. Off the back of belting their first score of 400, Morgan and Co will want to continue that form and the rebuild of the English ODI brand by giving it the Aussies as well.
Obviously there is no shortage of fire power in the Australian line up but once again the focus will probably be on Maxwell. I think we started to see how he should play his cards through the World Cup. He can start so much slower than most others but pick his moment to hit 50 off 20. I have been hot and cold on Maxwell through his career. The whole ‘big show’ nickname doesn’t sit well at times, until he turns it on. The way he plays orthodox at times and make it look so easy, makes it hard for me to like him when he is gets out playing the flashy stuff…. Again, unless it comes off, I find myself all about the Big Show. It’s mostly born out of frustration that he clearly has talents others do not, and can’t bring the consistency. There have been plenty of players in history that fuel that same emotion, he is just the new generation taking cricket to a new level. AB De Villiers doesn’t help Maxwell at all either. We probably sit back watching a guy that hits the ball with the same power and genius, but has found that consistency, thinking ‘why?? Why can’t you do the same?’, which is unfair on Maxwell. All hail AB.
For the English, I’m really pumped to see what Moeen Ali comes up with. After his efforts in the Ashes and then the T20, you can’t help but love the guy. He looks effortless at the crease and is looking to become a real thorn in the side of the Aussies. A good series here could build a mental edge over the bowlers for the future battles.
Morgan has had a much reported break and looked absolute dynamite in the T20 as well. There is no doubt that he can hit the ball, but probably got handed a sinking ship for the World Cup. He has a chance to build and shape this team how he sees fit from here. If he is on fire, England will be in this series until the end, and we will see some seriously entertaining cricket. This would be nice to see after the ‘one or the other’ test series.
Do I dare make a prediction? I don’t know…. My heart tells me that Australia should be able to blood some new talent and still get over the line, but it’s not going to be easy. I think the bowlers on both sides are going to share some terrible returns and whichever attack limits the damage the best, will come out on top. If was forced to make a prediction, I think Australia will get up 3-2 but to have the series wrapped up by the fourth with at least two very tight battles.